By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 02, 2002 01:00 PM

As she prepared to launch her second concert movie, “Notorious C.H.O,” which opens Wednesday, comic Margaret Cho told reporters in New York on Monday that she had been inspired as a youngster by Richard Pryor. “I remember watching his movies in the early ’80s when we had just gotten a VCR, and that was a very big deal,” she recalled. “The VCR had a wood paneling around the side with those big keys that you would push down on the side. Anyway, we would watch Richard Pryor’s movies and we would just laugh and laugh.” Not that Cho, 33, isn’t without a serious side, especially when she talks about her 20-year battle with anorexia and bulimia. “I spent so many years being very unhappy with myself, with the way I looked, with my race, with my body. I was so upset that I was not white or blonde or all of these things that I wanted to be. I have actress friends who got jobs left and right because they were what the media and advertisers were looking for. I kept getting passed over for jobs because of my appearance and not my talent. I spent years with a sense of inferiority to these other people who didn’t really have anything over me except for the way they looked.” And now? “I’m really at an age where I can’t do that anymore. For having placed such a high value in looking a certain way, I really destroyed a large part of my life. But now I’ve lost my taste for self-destruction. I learned that I have no idea who I was without that self-hatred. Besides, all that self-hatred got so boring, I decided to let it go. And as I let it go, a whole new world of opportunity opened for me, and it allowed me to guide other people to let go of their self-hatred.”